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   Beauty and fashion, health updates, pets, gadgets

by Dr De La Flor
Your questions answered
Dear Dr. De La Flor,
Due to a chronic urinary infection, the consultant has given me a two-month course of antibiotics. On top of that I take daily pills for blood pressure and diabetes. Are there any foods that I need to avoid when taking antibiotics? Can I drink?

Tenerife - 15.07.2011 -

Dear Ana,

Antibiotics usually come from your pharmacist with an insert telling you what you can and cant do while youre taking them, including the foods you should avoid eating. Even though you dont mention any specific antibiotic, there are some general guidelines for the most widely used ones:


Dairy Products: Milk and other dairy products can aggravate your intestines while youre taking antibiotics. This is especially true when taking ciprofloxacin (very common for urinary tract infections) with milk, although taking it with foods that include milk as an ingredient should be okay. Full-fat products can also worsen the diarrhea that is sometimes a side effect of antibiotics.

Fiber: Certain high-fibe vegetables and beans can also aggravate antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Wheat products fortified with iron or calcium can interfere with your bodys ability to absorb some antibiotics, particularly quinolones (ciprofloxacin). Some juices contain soluble fibre and may be fortified with calcium.

Acidic Foods: The acid content in certain foods can disrupt your bodys ability to absorb medications in general. You dont always have to avoid them entirely, however. You can sometimes consume acidic foods and beverages, including ketchup and tomatoes, fruit juices and fizzy drinks, well ahead of taking a dose of your medication or hours afterwards. If youre unsure, ask your pharmacist or your G.P.

Alcohol: Alcohol doesnt generally interfere with antibiotics. However, antibiotics and alcohol can have similar side effects, so consuming both together can increase the chance that youll experience them. You might risk nausea, dizziness or drowsiness to an increased degree if you combine them.

Many antibiotics do not interact well with any food at all. Generally, the insert with your prescription will advise you when and how to take them. Always make sure that your GP knows all medications youre taking. Interactions can play tricky games. Make sure you get a urinary lab test at the end of your antibiotic course to confirm proper kidney function as well as infection eradication. Best wishes.


Dear Dr. De La Flor,

I have persistent acid reflux. Will taking omeprazol work for me?



Dear Ted,

Omeprazol is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that curbs stomach acid production, keeping gastric juice from backing up into the esophagus and causing heartburn.  But PPIs dont always work, sometimes because heartburn has been misdiagnosed or because we dont eat and drink properly. Even when they do work, up to 40 per cent of patients can still have breakthrough symptoms from time to time. Fortunately, you can be proactive and take steps to prevent and minimise breakthrough symptoms:

Take medication correctly: If you dont know how and when to take your meds, call your GP for specific instructions regarding type, dose and timing. Typically, PPIs are given 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast. However, some people do better taking two doses a day to stave off nighttime symptoms.

Dont hit the sack on a full belly: Lying down within three to four hours of consuming a large meal, particularly a late-evening feast, could spell trouble. Stay away from late eating, large meals, and recumbence. Such a triple threat may pose too large of an insult on the body, one that even PPIs, the gold standard in GERD treatment, cant handle. For nighttime symptoms sometimes its necessary to elevate the head of the bed with blocks or using a bed wedge to prop the upper torso and allow gravity to work to your advantage.

Shed a few pounds: Overweight patients are more prone to have reflux symptoms.

Try over-the-counter drugs, they are effective in knocking out acid. The paradox is that theyre not very effective when taken daily, because people develop a tolerance to the drug. What I suggest to my patients is to take an over-the-counter H2 blocker when they have their breakthrough symptoms.

Know your triggers: If jalapeos or onions always get you, consider skipping them. If youre going to eat spicy food, taking an H2 blocker an hour or so before may help stop symptoms. But if you make changes and still have heartburn, get help. If you are having residual symptoms several times per week, and certainly if youre having residual symptoms to the point that its interfering with your ability to sleep or function on a day-to-day basis, you should definitely talk to your GP about it.

Please write down everything about your signs and symptoms, timing, food and drinking habits, sleeping habits and take it to your GP so that he/she can personalise your treatment.


Dr. De La Flor, licensed G.P./Family Doctor, holds certificates in coaching, nutrition and medical exercise from Berkeley University and the American Council on Exercise. His medical approach is highly influenced by Positive Psychology; an empowering, encompassing way of approaching patients through the study of their strengths and virtues to enable them to thrive and lead fulfilling lives, accept the past, find happiness in the present, and hope for the future. You can reach the doctor at 00-34-697.888.666 to schedule a consultation in his surgery or in your home/business.


This article appears in the print edition 647 of Island Connections

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